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John Kerry's Foreign Friends By: Mark Landsbaum
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Foreign leaders’ apparent infatuation with John Kerry raises two disturbing questions voters need to consider before November: Why do these leaders prefer Kerry to President Bush, and what does their endorsement say about Kerry?

These questions are quite apart from the flap over whether Kerry actually had private endorsements from other foreign leaders, whom he still refuses to identify. Those anonymous endorsers, Kerry says, told him they, “can’t go out and say this publicly but, boy, they look at you and say, ‘You gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy.’”

Far more important than whether Kerry has secretive supporters, are the questions raised by the public endorsements of other foreign notables, who have no qualms about being identified. For an assortment of reasons, they are a dangerous lot. None will be mistaken for supporters of American interests abroad.


Begin with appeasenik Spanish socialist Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, who said, “I want Kerry to win…We’re aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our alliance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil.” Zapatero has recently begun withdrawing Spanish troops who had been serving alongside U.S. forces in Iraq. Like Kerry, who 30 years ago argued that it is better to withdraw than to combat the Communist threat in Vietnam, Zapatero prefers to withdraw from combating the threat of terrorism spawned in Iraq. Both men have viewed retreat in the face of evil as virtuous.


Then there’s the world’s most die-hard Stalinist, North Korean Communist dictator Kim Jong Il, whom European newspapers reported to prefer Kerry over President Bush. “Rather than dealing with President George W. Bush and hawkish officials in his administration, Pyongyang seems to hope victory for the Democratic candidate on November 2 would lead to a softening in U.S. policy towards the country’s nuclear-weapons program,” according to London’s Financial Times, which also reported Kerry being broadcast in “glowing” terms on Korea’s state-operated radio.


It does not take an advanced degree in international relations to figure out that a Communist dictator building and selling nuclear weapons and developing missiles that can reach California probably doesn’t share a common view with most Americans of what is in their best interest.


And, of course, there’s avowed anti-Semitic former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who endorsed Kerry’s presidential bid, proclaiming, “I think Kerry would be much more willing to listen to the voices of people and of the rest of the world.” Mohamed last year urged fellow Muslim leaders to achieve a “final victory” over Jews who he said, “rule the world by proxy.” One wonders how this stance squares with Kerry’s recent revelation that he is of Jewish heritage.


There’s little nuance here. These international endorsements come from the cowardly, the evil and the vile. A socialist retreating in the face of terrorists, a Communist dictator insinuating nuclear showdown and an anti-Semitic hatemonger aren’t likely to have Americans’ best interest at heart when picking sides in the U.S. presidential election.


To Kerry’s credit he had the presence of mind to recognize venomous anti-Semitism when it reared it ugly self with Malaysia’s Mohamed’s endorsement. “John Kerry rejects any association with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, an avowed anti-Semite whose views are totally deplorable,” said Kerry foreign policy adviser Rand Beers.


Nevertheless, if these are the stripe of foreigners attracted to John Kerry, who then is repulsed by him? In Kerry’s 1997 book The New War, he even referred to Yasser Arafat as a “statesman.”


All this calls into question Kerry’s moral authority, and how others would perceive it. In short, if Kerry is admired by those who retreat from evil, those who threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons and those who hate Jews, can Kerry be right for America? As columnist Joel Mowbray has noted, “Kerry expresses a sincere belief that terrorists can change their stripes, if only they have a positive role model.”


Kerry’s view of reality is consistent with that which has steered the Democratic Party since at least the presidency of Jimmy Carter. It is a worldview that refuses to acknowledge the existence of evil in the world, preferring instead to imagine there are only people and nations with differing interests. Consequently, Kerry and his ilk opt for the Rodney King approach to international relations: “Can’t we all just get along?”


The danger in this is that evildoers recognize it for what it is: appeasement. The even greater danger is that terrorists will interpret it for what it often signals: weakness. Enemies of the United States always will be attracted to Americans who make their job easier. Terrorists, Communists and anti-Semites are never won over by negotiation or by feeling their pain. They correctly interpret such naïve olive branches as signs of weakness, and can be counted on to press for more of what they want. As Chamberlain learned the hard way with Nazi Germany, going wobbly in the face of evil is no solution.


It is no surprise to find that Kerry prefers an expanded United Nations role, rather than the U.S. “going it alone,” on matters of terrorism and international threats. The UN is nothing if not institutionalized appeasement.


Kerry, who is becoming well known for his opportunistic flip-flops, at least has been consistent on this score. He sided against American interests in the Vietnam War when he unashamedly accused American GIs of committing murder and torture. He opposed American interests in his numerous votes against military procurement bills, and by refusing to fund the war effort in Iraq.


“Senator Kerry speaks with open contempt” of those nations that have sided with the Bush administration in the Iraqi war effort, according to Vice President Dick Cheney. “If such dismissive terms are the vernacular of the golden age of diplomacy Senator Kerry promises, we are left to wonder which nations would care to join any future coalition.”


If Kerry has such a dour view of those countries supporting U.S. efforts, and Kerry is so favorably viewed by foreign leaders whose interests certainly don’t jibe with U.S. interests, can Kerry be right for America?


Kerry has complained that the Bush “administration’s foreign policy is not making us as safe as we can be in the world.”


Will friends like Zapatero, Jong Il and Mohamed make us safer?

Mark Landsbaum is a freelance writer, author and former award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter in Diamond Bar, California.

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